Norway passes a law that forces influencers to label their retouched photos
The law applies to posts used for promotional purposes across all social media platforms and is punishable by fines or imprisonment.
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 30 June 2021
In an attempt to tackle increasingly unrealistic and oppressive beauty standards, Norway has amended its 2009 Marketing Act to make it compulsory for influencers to declare which photos of their bodies have been retouched. The law, which passed earlier this month with 72 to 15 votes in government, applies to all social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter – though it only pertains to posts which are used for advertising or other promotional purposes.
Introduced by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, the law requires any post that contains a body with modified size, shape, or skin to carry a declaration of alteration. This means that any suspiciously narrow waistlines or unusually perfect complexions that have been achieved using either physical methods prior to the taking of the photo or digital tools afterwards must be acknowledged with a label designed and provided by the Ministry. Those who do not comply may face significant fines or, in extreme cases, possible imprisonment.
The passing of this law comes amid increasing tension surrounding the negative effects of unrealistic beauty standards, especially on teenagers and children – the latter of which are currently joining social media platforms at younger ages than ever before. The constant bombardment of idealised looks and physiques is creating what Norway refers to as “body pressure” for users. But the issue doesn’t just concern online spaces, it is also “present in the workplace, in the public space, in the home, and in various media,” writes the Ministry. “Body pressure is always there, often imperceptibly, and is difficult to combat.”
The amendment has received widespread support from both the general public and from the influencers themselves, with some even calling for the law to apply to all posts and not just those deemed as advertising; though others remain sceptical about the feasibility of enforcing such rules and worry that accurately determining which photos have been altered will be a difficult task. And while it’s true that effectively policing the great vastness of social media has never been a simple job, this progressive move by Norway certainly marks a step in the right direction.
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.